[tlhIngan Hol] why we shouldn't do transcriptions

Lieven L. Litaer levinius at gmx.de
Wed Feb 26 23:25:11 PST 2020

This is a topic that comes back over and over, and there are divided
opinions: Some strictly say DON'T, others say Why not?

Well, I just noticed a nice event that shows what can happen:
(and even though I may mix up something, It's a good example)

Step 1:
Many years ago, somebody translated The Gospel of John into Klingon.
While doing so, they decided to transcribe many names. One of them is
"peter" which turned out to pe'tlhoS, probably based on Latin Petrus.

Step 2:
Somehow, this text was added to the database of Bing. The software
started to learn and found out the word for "Peter" (which is actually
nonsense, because it's a name that should not be translated, but that's
another topic).

Step 3:
Some lazy workers at FOX studios uses Bing to translate a Klingon
dialogue. And so, the Klingon version of "Peter" pops up in Family Guy!

Step 4:
If anyone who knows nothing about Klingon, Okrand, our group's
conventions, or anything, tries to analyze that text - assuming they
find out the corrected grammar - they will also find that pe'tlhoS is
Klingon for "Peter".


So you see how one apparently minor insignificant decision can have
large consequences many years later.

That's why I still keep insisting that translators should avoid making
transliterations and making up new words as much as possible.

Just my 2 cents on this. I agree that we may disagree.

Lieven L. Litaer
aka the "Klingon Teacher from Germany"

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